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Forever, In Golden Paradise

 

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Composer(s) / Arranger(s): Gary P. Gilroy,

Performance Time: 3:10  |  Grade: 2  |  Style: Contemporary

“Forever, In Golden Paradise” is dedicated to the memory of Kevin Michael William Golden and the entire Golden Family. Kevin Golden was born in Fresno, California on January 27, 1993, and passed away in Yosemite National Park (CA) on January 6, 2017.

On Friday morning, January 6, 2017, Nick Gilroy (son of Gary P. Gilroy) and Kevin Golden were spending one of their last days of the Christmas vacation by visiting one of the world’s most incredible natural settings, Yosemite National Park. It was a beautifully clear day, and their hike would take them up the well-known “Four-Mile Trail" from the valley floor to the infamous Glacier Point. Both young men had hiked in Yosemite before and considered the spectacular views some of the best in their experiences. As they reached the higher parts of the trail, they encountered icy conditions. Kevin slipped, and in an instant, was gone over the edge. Tragically, he fell to his death.

The Golden family held a memorial Mass for Kevin that packed Fresno's Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church to capacity. Kevin was an amazing young man who was just about to graduate from California State University, Long Beach. He was an Eagle Scout, and many of his scouting colleagues were in attendance. Towards the end of the Mass, they all convened on the altar to sing their final goodbye to their fellow scout. They sang the Scout Vespers Song, which uses the melody from O Christmas Tree. As Forever, In Golden Paradise comes to a close, a short fragment of this traditional Christmas song can be heard repeating several times in an ascending manner as if to depict Kevin’s accession into the Heavens.

Kevin’s parents, John and Maureen, and brothers Christopher and Andrew, will tell you that Kevin loved nature and he especially loved Yosemite. It was his Paradise. His girlfriend, Leah Russell, notes that the majority of their adventures together included epic hiking opportunities. Kevin had a passion for hiking, camping, and sharing his enthusiasm of the great outdoors with others. He would often call home after he reached the top of a peak to share the peaceful happiness the view from the summit gave him. In his life, Kevin touched the lives of so many, at school, work, and play. His example still inspires many to explore, love, and continuously learn as he did. Kevin will forever be missed, by all who had the good fortune of knowing him, but we can be sure that he is forever at peace in his own Golden Paradise.

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